Update February 2008
The Shark has been on a diet. It now weighs just under 1/2 gram, 0.485 grams to be exact. This is believed to be the first electric-powered radio-controlled fixed-wing aircraft under 1/2 gram. In fact, there are now two Sharks, the second one being a little heavier, but still under 1/2 gram at 0.495 grams.
There were two developments that made it possible to get under 1/2 gram. The first was a new lipoly battery from Atomic Workshop that weighs 335 mg, before being lightened to 290 mg. The second is a new hand-built brushless motor weighing just 45 mg.
There is another difference in the second Shark. It uses a new hand-built 900 MHz radio that I built, called a Rabbit, that uses Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum technology. The new radio weighs 65 mg, which accounts for most of the difference in weight from the first Shark.
This is the Shark, so named because of the shape of the fin. It is a direct derivative of the Midge. It weighs 0.695 grams, believed to be a new unofficial world record for the lightest flying remote-controlled, electric-powered plane. The maiden flight was at Indoor Night at the 2006 NEAT Fair in New York. It was launched by Matt Keenon and was climbing nicely before pilot error had it crashing into a wall.
Later in the evening it was launched by the previous record holder, Robert Guillot, in front of the assembled crowd. It didn't climb quite as well, but it flew.
One of the differences from the Midge is the motor. The Shark uses a stripped down version of the 3.2 mm Shicoh coreless motor. It has no case, no flux ring, and a carbon shaft.
Another difference is the receiver. The Shark uses a modified version of the current latest 27 MHz receiver from Nick Leichty. As shipped the receiver weighs only 75 mg, but I reduced this to 60 mg by replacing the 8-pin PIC chip with a 6-pin chip programmed with a version of my YAPP code to provide only two channels of operation, throttle and rudder.
The only other difference is that the airframe is smaller, at 2.65 inches wingspan.